The Ospreys coach, Lyn Jones, hailed a "100 per cent turnaround" by his team after they destroyed Gloucester's unbeaten record at the Liberty Stadium on Friday night. The Welsh side launched their EDF Energy Cup campaign in fearsome fashion, scoring six tries as they triumphed 49-19, with fly-half Gavin Henson contributing 24 points.
The victory - secured through touchdowns from Henson, centre Sonny Parker (two), wing Shane Williams, scrum-half Justin Marshall and hooker Barry Williams - came just a week after the Ospreys were humbled 43-7 by in the Magners League by Ulster.
"It was a powerful performance by us - we responded well from last week," said Jones. "We looked like a team, and we created space that meant individual flair came through. It was a complete 100 per cent turnaround. We hadn't played well this season, and it was important we performed against Gloucester, although you are not going to see champagne rugby like that every week."
Gloucester, second in the Guinness Premiership following three wins and a draw this season, fielded a much-changed side and must now win their remaining Pool A games at home to Bristol and Bath to have chance of reaching the Millennium Stadium semi-finals next March. "Intensity was the core area," said Gloucester's head coach, Dean Ryan. "They won the physical collisions and played off the back of that with a world-class No 9 [Justin Marshall]. We didn't turn up with enough intensity to make it an even contest, which was disappointing. But we have lost one game, and we have two to come at home in this tournament. I don't think it is a competition that is beyond us just because of this result."
Sale's director of rugby, Philippe Saint-André, fears Lionel Fauré is set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines after he was carried off during the 28-5 victory against Newcastle.
The French prop was hit by a heavy challenge shortly before half-time and was rushed straight to hospital with a suspected broken leg. His injury overshadowed Sale's win. "It's a serious blow for Lionel and for the team," admitted Saint-André. "It was a bad injury and we think he's broken a bone in his leg. He's gone straight to hospital and we'll await the results of the tests."
Spanish winger Oriol Ripol proved an able deputy for Mark Cueto by touching down either side of the break, while Daniel Larrechea kicked 13 points in the absence of Charlie Hodgson.
Chris Jones added a late third try for Sale before Falcons replacement Matt Thompson touched down in the final minute to ensure the visitors had the final say. Newcastle's director of rugby, John Fletcher, said: "We had four players there making their first starts for the club. We've got so many players injured and I don't think the scoreline quite reflected the game, although they did look more of a threat throughout."Reuse content